The Intel 8086 is a 16-bit microprocessor designed by engineers at Intel and released on 1978-06-08, the first of the x86 architecture. Slightly a year later, on 1979-07-01, Intel released a variant called the 8088, which had only an 8-bit data bus. The 8088 became massively popular in home computers because it was adopted by IBM for their Personal Computer line, so any company that developed a clone also had to use the chip.
I started hearing about the x86 architecture in early 1990s when my family bought our first computer which featured a 80386 CPU. I watched the progression increase to the 486, 586, and so on, but I never really understanding what that meant. It wasn't until I started becoming more interested in microchips, primarily due to video game hacking, that I began to learn what chips were used in various systems, and what they were capable of, which made me much more interested in them.
Several devices used the Intel 8086 or its variants, but here are the most popular ones:
- IBM Personal Computer - 8088 used in original, XT and JX models
- IBM PC Convertible - 8088 variant
- IBM PCjr - 8088 variant
- PC-9800 - 8086 used in most early models
- Tandy 1000 - 8088 used in the 1000, A, HD, and SX models
Every early IBM PC clone also used the 8080 by necessity.